A majority of South Dakota voters gave their blessing to hashish legalization final 12 months, however the state’s courtroom system didn’t.
The lengthy, drawn-out saga surrounding the Mouth Rushmore State’s flirtation with hashish reached its coda final week, because the South Dakota Supreme Court docket dominated the voter-approved modification unconstitutional on technical grounds.
In a 4-1 ruling handed down on the eve of Thanksgiving, the justices mentioned that Modification A, which might have legalized pot use for adults aged 21 and older, violated the state structure’s “one topic” requirement for constitutional amendments.
Writing for almost all, Chief Justice Steven Jensen mentioned that Modification A clearly contained “provisions embracing at the least three separate topics, every with distinct objects or functions.”
Modification A, which was accepted in final 12 months’s election with the help of 54 p.c of South Dakota voters, handled not solely leisure pot, but additionally medicinal hashish and hemp.
The state’s structure, Jensen wrote, “not solely features a single topic requirement but additionally directs proponents of a constitutional modification to organize an modification in order that the completely different topics could be voted on individually.”
“This constitutional directive couldn’t be expressed extra clearly—every topic have to be voted on individually—and easily severing sure provisions might or might not mirror the precise will of the voters,” Jensen wrote. “Subsequently, we can not settle for Proponents’ suggestion that excising the medical marijuana and hemp provisions from Modification A in favor of retaining the provisions regulating and legalizing leisure marijuana is an applicable treatment. Modification A is void in its entirety.”
The ruling upholds a earlier determination by a South Dakota circuit courtroom, which struck down Modification A in February.
Modification A Lengthy Opposed by South Dakota Leaders
The modification was staunchly opposed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and the lawsuit difficult its constitutionality was introduced on her behalf by the South Dakota Freeway Patrol Superintendent and a county sheriff.
Jensen mentioned in his opinion final week that neither of these legislation enforcement officers “had standing to problem Modification A of their official capacities,” and that the circuit courtroom had erred in its dedication of such. However as a result of Noem ratified the lawsuit, the “standing defect” had been alleviated and the motion proceeded “as if it had been commenced by the true get together in curiosity,” that means the governor.
In April, the state’s Supreme Court docket agreed to listen to the case.
After the excessive courtroom’s ruling final week, Noem, extensively thought-about a possible 2022 GOP presidential candidate, took a victory lap.
“South Dakota is a spot the place the rule of legislation and our Structure matter, and that’s what at present’s determination is about,” the governor mentioned in a press release. “We do issues proper—and the way we do issues issues simply as a lot as what we’re doing. We’re nonetheless ruled by the rule of legislation. This determination doesn’t have an effect on my Administration’s implementation of the medical hashish program voters accepted in 2020. That program was launched earlier this month, and the primary playing cards have already gone out to eligible South Dakotans.”
Along with Modification A, South Dakota voters additionally accepted a separate proposal legalizing medical marijuana final 12 months. That proposal, Measure 26, handed with the help of 70 p.c of South Dakota voters.
The state’s medicinal hashish program is slowly getting off the bottom. Earlier this month, the state introduced that it could start accepting functions from eligible medical hashish sufferers.
Marijuana advocates in South Dakota have been left dismayed by the opposition from each the governor and the courts, however the highway to legalization didn’t finish final week. Activists started circulating petitions earlier this fall within the hopes of getting one other leisure pot proposal on subsequent 12 months’s poll.